Mobile users still collectively spend billions of dollars on games each month, and some of the older titles still top the download and revenue charts. Monthly average spend year-over-year is down slightly from 2021, when global pandemic lockdowns were in place and customers had more time to spend. Despite the slight decline, the sector continues to thrive.
The largest market for downloads and editions of Play Store games is the US, followed by Japan. Google Play is not available in China, which represents great purchasing power for mobile games. Let’s take a look at some of the Android gaming trends we’re seeing so far in 2022.
Candy crush is still popular
This year marks the tenth anniversary of Candy Crush Saga, a game that started on the social network Facebook and migrated to mobile less than half a year later. Developers King were among the first to pioneer the freemium model, where the game itself is free to download and play, but users have the option to make in-app purchases.
The format was hugely successful, and Candy Crush became the first mobile game to gross over a billion dollars for its developer. All of this has been achieved despite the fact that less than 10% of users spend money on the game. A decade later, it’s fair to say that few other games can match the success of Candy Crush. It was the top-grossing game on the Play Store in February of this year and hasn’t dropped out of the top 5 since.
Mobile slots back on the menu
They may not appear in gaming revenue listings, but gambling apps are popular again on the Play Store. Before 2021, access to real money casino apps, mobile slots and sports betting was limited to just a few countries. Even then, these apps had to be downloaded from the app provider’s website and could not be found by searching the Play Store.
Google flipped this policy to little fanfare early last year, but revenue from apps for licensed and secure mobile slot sites and other gambling activities has been significant. The decision to allow real money casino apps could impact an industry that had largely shifted away from apps in favor of instant access mobile sites.
Pokemon GO is making a comeback
Another game that has been around for a while is Pokemon GO, which was originally released in 2016 and is currently regaining popularity. This was one of the first mobile games to use augmented reality, overlaying the game elements over the player’s front camera view. A great aspect of this game was that players used it when they were out and encountered the characters all over the real world.
Of course, this game was one that suffered when quarantine orders restricted people’s freedom of movement for long periods of time. Developers Niantic have worked hard to adapt the format so players can enjoy it even when they can’t go out as much as usual. This June, Pokemon GO climbed back to number two on the Play Store revenue chart, boosted by the return of collective events around the world.
Coin Master tops the UK charts
Since 2019, Moon Active’s Coin Master has been topping the UK mobile game sales chart. Although it is described as an adventure game, it could be more accurately categorized as a social casino. This is because it uses the same mechanics as gambling sites and mobile slots where players have to try to win coins through spins and puzzles.
Players can also buy coins in the app where the game makes its winnings. Players can connect to Coin Master social media channels to get extra spins and coins for free. Despite the launch of real money gambling apps on the Play Store, Coin Master still maintains the top spot for revenue.
ancestry in the Asian market
The Lineage series of MMORPG games has its origins back in 1998. Based on a Korean comic, this fantasy title first released a mobile version, Lineage M, in 2017. The newer Lineage W was released last year and players can enjoy a series Access and play the Game across multiple platforms, including mobile devices.
Interestingly, both Lineage M and Lineage W were among the top ten grossing Android games in 2022. Lineage W has held the top spot for two months so far this year. The most surprising part is that the game had a limited release. Almost all of the game’s revenue comes from the Korean and Taiwanese markets, with few players outside of those two territories.